On what he thought of today's practice, given that it was the longest practice of camp so far:**"I thought that today was one of our better practices. I think this is a practice we can build on. If we can get this much better each day, I think that puts us where we need to be. I just complimented the guys. I thought they did a nice job. [I'm] excited about today."
On what he liked specifically about today's practice:
"I liked the energy. I liked the execution. I think the defense made some plays. I think the offense made some plays. I think the most important thing, to me, is that we have learned how to practice. We established a tempo in the offseason, during OTAs, in terms of what we need to do to get good work on both sides. And we're doing that."
On whether he thinks the physical nature of camp will help the 49ers improve over last year:
"In my mind, I don't even think about last year. That's done. I'm thankful that's over, and now we're going forward. To me, the most important thing is every day we come out here, all we're going to do is work our tails off to earn the right to be the kind of team we want to be. That's it. All the other stuff, I don't even think about that. We're just going to continue to go forward. That's it."
On whether Alex Smith seems to be a different quarterback this year:"I don't know about different. I think he's maturing. I just think that's the best word I could use. He's maturing as a quarterback."
On whether he's getting the ball out quicker this year:"I think there are a number of things, both he and Shaun [Hill]. I think [quarterbacks coach] Mike Johnson's doing a great job. [Offensive coordinator] Jimmy Raye's doing a great job working with him, talking with him, working on their footwork and just knowing that that ball has got to come out. It's all about timing. The coach is doing a good job and the players are receptive, both quarterbacks. It's paying off."
On how he can see that someone has matured:"I think body language. I think command of the huddle. I think when guys do things wrong, it's like: 'Hey, this is what we did wrong. Let's get that right. OK, let's go.' Instead of making a mistake and looking back at the coach and seeing what he has to say. I think that's just a maturation factor, to me."
On whether that maturation comes naturally:
"I think so. I think so."
On the importance of having Takeo Spikes' leadership on the defense:
"It's very important. I think last year when Takeo came, we knew he was going to be a good football player, but we didn't know how much leadership he was going to bring. Joe Staley' development as a leader, some of the things that he needed to know from a veteran guy, Takeo Spikes really filled that role and did a nice job of coming in and helping out."
On when Patrick Willis will come back to practice:
"It's a day-to-day deal. We'll get him back when the doctors let him go. But, he's fine. He'll be ready to go when that time comes."
On whether Ricky Jean-Francois is having any extra physical issues from his staph infection and when he will be ready for practice:"Like I said, it's just one of those things where we'll just take it a day at a time. Listen to the trainers. Listen to the doctors. We're not in any rush. We're going to make sure that we're smart in handling that situation. When it's time to come back, he'll come back."
On whether Greg Manusky has autonomy on defense, and how involved he is on defense:
"Here are both sides of it. I know what the defense is doing. I know the personnel on defense. I know what the guys are capable of doing. I talk to Greg from time to time, making sure things are going the way they need to go. I spend time over there as well. But, the defense is on that path where we're pretty much stable. We know what we're going to do. It's just a matter of eliminating the things we need to eliminate and continue to execute. The offensive side of the ball is totally new, new last year, new this year – in a lot of people's minds. The most important thing for me is those things that you're not as familiar with. Everything with me comes down to relationships. I know Greg, I know everybody on defense. But on the offensive side of the ball, there are relationships built whereas we go forward, if something's not quite right, they understand where I'm coming from if I touch on a particular subject or a particular player. It's not going to be like, 'Whoa, he's never over here. I don't know what he's thinking.' I want them to know exactly what I'm thinking on both sides of the ball, and we go forward with that."
On how the decision to focus in on the 3-4, as opposed to a hybrid, was made last year:"I think that some of the things we've done before, we've kept a lot of those things. I think the thing we did was kind of looked at who we are and said, 'You know what? This we don't need. That we don't need. This is what we have. Let's really look at the personnel, focus on that, and our defense is going to execute that defense that our personnel can fit.' And that's really it. It's nothing major or anything like that. It's just common sense."
On whether S Dashon Goldson is a guy who practices well but who hasn't shown the ability to transfer that into the game:"That's just one of those things that time will tell. That's kind of how I look at it. But, I do know this: The way you practice is a pretty good indication of how you're going to play. So, that's enough to get excited about. The biggest thing there is just staying healthy. That's the only thing I think about there, and if we can do that, we'll be fine with him."
On what he has seen from T Marvel Smith thus far:"I see a veteran who knows how to play the game. More than anything else, I know he can play. He knows he can play. Everybody knows he can play. It's just a matter of watching some of the other things and make sure that he can play as long as we need him to play. So, we're just watching him and making sure that there's that fine line in him not overdoing something and losing him down the stretch. So, we just have to constantly watch that day-to-day."
On whether he's rethought being less physical given the number of injuries:
"Not one bit. Not one bit."
On whether the number of injuries is a typical number for an NFL training camp:"I don't know what's typical in the NFL. All I know is that football is a contact sport. It's a collision sport. Injuries happen. The most important thing is when they happen, you've done the right things in the offseason to bring them back quicker. Hopefully you have great communication with your doctors and your trainers. What do we need to do to handle that to make sure that we get them back as soon as we can, make sure we don't bring them back too soon. So, we're in constant communication, and I'm very thankful for our doctors and our trainers. So, we'll handle it just fine."
On whether David Baas' injury could be the most troubling long term:"As far as that situation is concerned, we'll look early next week and see how it looks and just take it day-to-day from there."
On whether he knows the cause for Chilo Rachal's headache yesterday:"I just know that it's a migraine. That's all I know."
On what he's seen from the competition between Marvel Smith and Adam Snyder:"Right now, I would just say that I'm very pleased with Adam Snyder. I think Adam Snyder is making some really good progress. He's working his tail off. He's being steady. He's doing some of the things that coach [Chris] Foerster and myself have talked about and hoped to see this offseason and this training camp. So far, so good."
On how the right tackle competition is going:
"It's going well. It's kind of like the quarterback situation. Competition, you come out day-to-day and we're constantly evaluating. We're going to let them compete. At the right time, we'll make that decision, but I'm pleased with both of them."